Covid is causing less disruption to education than it was at the start of last year, when school closures forced pupils and teachers to work remotely. Nevertheless, times remain tough.

The Omicron variant has kept absence rates high, meaning risks to learning are considerable. It is little wonder young people have been feeling the strain as they bid to get themselves ready for exams.

Among those worried about the impact on wellbeing is Conservative MSP Brian Whittle. “I spoke to a teacher recently who informed me that one out of 10 pupils in that school had been referred to Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services [CAMHS], with uncertainty over exams being a significant factor,” he said on Tuesday after Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville updated Holyrood on arrangements for the 2022 diet.

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The coming weeks will undoubtedly be stressful for everyone involved in senior schooling. However, a new package of support measures unveiled by Ms Somerville and her colleagues at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) should provide at least some reassurance.

Plans announced for the exceptional circumstances and appeals services are likely to be particularly welcome. SQA bosses have confirmed that, in both cases, examiners will consider alternative assessment evidence gathered over the course of the school year.

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For appeals, the SQA will also conduct a clerical check on exam scripts, with awards to be based on the higher grade generated by the two types of evidence. This is very different from a “normal” post-results service, which would not usually take into account alternative evidence.

For the moment, teacher union bosses appear satisfied. Ross Greer, education spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, also seems content. “This strengthened appeals process combined with advance notice of exam content, additional study support and grade boundaries which take the pandemic’s disruption into account certainly make for a far fairer system than would otherwise have been the case,” he said.